Oct. 22, 2016
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Bystrom-Williams examines cultures for their kombucha brew.
Minesh Bacrania

Over the HoneyMoon

Santa Feans win big money in Miller Lite entrepreneur contest

September 23, 2016, 12:15 am

 A few months ago, you read about Ayla Bystrom-Williams and her boyfriend/business partner James Hill in SFR’s My Millennial Life cover story. In case you didn’t, here’s a quick refresher. Born in 1985 and raised in Santa Fe, the two have spent the past few years building their business HoneyMoon Brewery, which makes alcoholic kombucha, right here in their hometown.  

The millennial pair is resourceful. They found assistance from local business incubators and sold their idea to Whole Foods before they even had a product. Last night, their resourcefulness paid off yet again and the pair won the Miller Lite Tap The Future Program contest.

HoneyMoon Brewery steadily defeated 14,000 other businesses during the competition, earning a six-figure prize at its conclusion. 

“It’s still so surreal,” says Hill. “They hand you this big check and you’re shaking hands with all of these miller executives. It’s an experience like we’ve never experienced before.” HoneyMoon Brewery received two checks from Miller, one for $20,000 and one for $200,000, “so they essentially handed us the brewery,” says Hill.

The sum was more than the pair had hoped for and they plan to sign a lease on building and order equipment as soon as they get home. “We will be licensed sometime in 2017,” says Hill. “We are really tired right now, it’s been a long stretch. But we feel really great, really humbled and really blessed.” 


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